10 Tips to saving money on your grocery bill

As everyone needs to buy groceries, being able to save on your grocery bill is one way you can make your budget stretch a little further at the end of the month. Moneybags journalist, Ashleigh Brown, gathered 10 handy tips for saving on these essentials.

Have you ever reached the checkout counter, and saw the bill looming back at you and wondered how your groceries could cost so much? I think we have all been there. Below are some handy tips on how to make your money stretch a little further when it comes to grocery shopping.

1. House brand

Look for the house brand of the item you are buying. Generally, the house brand will be cheaper.
Just because the house brand is cheaper, it does not mean that it is worse. If you take the challenge to downscale to a cheaper brand and find no difference in taste or experience, why not commit to the new brand purchase permanently to save money?
For example: Pick n Pay’s two litre No Name Cola, is R10.99, while Coca-Cola’s two litres is R14.99.

2. Lists

Making a list at home with just the items you need on it. This can help you to save money when shopping. Buying on an impulse can cause your bill to rack up way more than you need it to. This way, by having a list, you cut out the unnecessary products, and cut back on costs as well.

3. Promotions

Keep a sharp eye out for promotions. Promotions are a great way to get good products at a much reduced price.
Note that buy-two-get-one free are not promotions, but are rather deals. Promotions are when, for example, all pork is priced down, for a certain amount of time.

4. Always check prices

Sometimes we get stuck on a favourite brand, without really checking the prices. There are plenty of different brands out there that are not as costly. However, if you feel that the quality is just not up to scratch then simply switch back and know the extra money is well spent.

For example: Pick n Pay’s 410 gram baked beans, cost R7.49, while Koo’s Baked Beans, 410 grams cost R7.99.

5. Don’t fall for buy -2-get-3 deals

A lot of the times, these deals are to do with perishable items, which means you might not even get the chance to use it before the item expires.

Calculate the price per item when you are taking three, and then ask yourself how many would you buy, if it was that price, and not a ‘deal’? If your answer is still three, then great buy them. If not, then put them back, and just take what you need.

6. Buy only what you need

This links back the previous point about lists. When you go groceries shopping only buy what you need, and no more than that. This way, you cut out the unnecessary costs of impulse buys, and end up saving money.

7. Every little bit counts

Even when you are deciding between two similar products, and there is only a few cents difference between them, just remember that every little cent counts. Eventually, all those 10 and 20 cents you saved, would add up.

8. Rewards

If you need to, try to use your rewards points. If you have diligently shopped, and added up enough points, then why not use them to try and get your grocery bill reduced? They are there for you to use, so do.

9. Beat the clock

Give yourself a set amount of time to complete your shopping. If it is just a small shop, for example, then give yourself 30 minutes to get it done. This way, again, you cut out impulse buying and go in and get exactly what is on your list.

10. Packed-lunches

The best way to save extra money is to pack your own lunch for work. Going out every day for lunch, or even just buying that coffee in the morning all adds up.

For example: if you buy a R20 coffee every morning, for a month, you would have spent R400. If you went and had a R60 meal for lunch every day, then by month end you would have spent R1200.

So rather factor in your lunches in your grocery shopping expedition and save yourself that little bit extra to your monthly food bill.

By following these 10 tips, you can save on your grocery bill every month, helping your budget to stretch just a little further.

*All prices correct as of 27 August, 2014, from the Pick n Pay online shopping site.